There are growing concerns over future environmental impact and earth resource shortage throughout the world and in many industries. Our semiconductor industry is not excluded. "Green" has become an important topic as production volume become larger and more powerful.
Especially, the rare gases are widely used in semiconductor manufacturing because of its inertness and extreme chemical stability. One major component of an Excimer laser system is Neon. It is used as a buffer gas for Argon (Ar) and Krypton (Kr) gases used in deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography laser systems. Since Neon gas accounting for more than 96% of the laser gas mixture, a fairly large amount of neon gas is consumed to run these DUV lasers. However, due to country's instability both in politics and economics in Ukraine, the main producer of neon gas today, supply reduction has become an issue and is causing increasing concern. This concern is not only based on price increases, but has escalated to the point of supply shortages in 2015. This poses a critical situation for the semiconductor industry, which represents the leading consumer of neon gas in the world. Helium is another noble gas used for Excimer laser operation. It is used as a purge gas for optical component modules to prevent from being damaged by active gases and impurities. Helium has been used in various industries, including for medical equipment, linear motor cars, and semiconductors, and is indispensable for modern life. But consumption of helium in manufacturing has been increased dramatically, and its unstable supply and price rise has been a serious issue today. In this article, recent global supply issue of rare resources, especially Neon gas and Helium gas, and its solution technology to support semiconductor industry will be discussed.
Semiconductor manufacturing industry has growing concerns over future environmental impacts as fabs expand and new generations of equipment become more powerful. Especially rare gases supply and price are one of prime concerns for operation of high volume manufacturing (HVM) fabs. Over the past year it has come to our attention that Helium and Neon gas supplies could be unstable and become a threat to HVM fabs. To address these concerns, Gigaphoton has implemented various green technologies under its EcoPhoton program. One of the initiatives is GigaTwin deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography laser design which enables highly efficient and stable operation. Under this design laser systems run with 50% less electric energy and gas consumption compared to conventional laser designs. In 2014 we have developed two technologies to further reduce electric energy and gas efficiency. The electric energy reduction technology is called eGRYCOS (enhanced Gigaphoton Recycled Chamber Operation System), and it reduces electric energy by 15% without compromising any of laser performances. eGRYCOS system has a sophisticated gas flow design so that we can reduce cross-flow-fan rotation speed. The gas reduction technology is called eTGM (enhanced Total gas Manager) and it improves gas management system optimizing the gas injection and exhaust amount based on laser performances, resulting in 50% gas savings. The next steps in our roadmap technologies are indicated and we call for potential partners to work with us based on OPEN INNOVATION concept to successfully develop faster and better solutions in all possible areas where green innovation may exist.
"Green" has fast become an important and pervasive topic throughout many industries worldwide. Many companies,
especially in the manufacturing industries, have taken steps to integrate green initiatives into their high-level corporate
strategies. Governments have also been active in implementing various initiatives designed to increase corporate
responsibility and accountability towards environmental issues. In the semiconductor manufacturing industry, there are
growing concerns over future environmental impact as enormous fabs expand and new generation of equipments become
larger and more powerful. To address these concerns, Gigaphoton has implemented various green initiatives for many
years under the EcoPhoton™ program. The objective of this program is to drive innovations in technology and services
that enable manufacturers to significantly reduce both the financial and environmental “green cost” of laser operations in
high-volume manufacturing environment (HVM) – primarily focusing on electricity, gas and heat management costs. One
example of such innovation is Gigaphoton’s Injection-Lock system, which reduces electricity and gas utilization costs of
the laser by up to 50%. Furthermore, to support the industry’s transition from 300mm to the next generation 450mm
wafers, technologies are being developed to create lasers that offer double the output power from 60W to 120W, but
reducing electricity and gas consumption by another 50%. This means that the efficiency of lasers can be improve by up
to 4 times in 450mm wafer production environments. Other future innovations include the introduction of totally Heliumfree
Excimer lasers that utilize Nitrogen gas as its replacement for optical module purging. This paper discusses these and
other innovations by Gigaphoton to enable green manufacturing.